It's probably a mixture of both.
In economics, we try to specialize so that we can produce more. So each person tries to specialize in something and produce a lot of that single product, then after that we trade with each other. Theoretically, after trading, everyone is better off cos there's more products to go around.
So in this equation, money is the medium of trade.
We specialize in our jobs, spend time doing the task, then we get money for it, then we use that money to buy stuff that someone else has produced. Money also stores our "time" cos we can produce a lot for a period, then we can rest for sometime before trading away our time again.
Let's look at someone who earns $3000 per month. That's around $100 per day.
So essentially, to buy a 50" TV at $1000, he is trading away 10 days of his life.
OR maybe a pair of shoes cost $100... that's 1 day of your life.
Some of the stuff are needs, we need to wear them to go to work to make even more money...
How about a car... my total car expense after 5 years is estimated to be
$1200 per mth x 12 mths x 5 years = $72,000
Which would equate to 720 days or around 2 years for someone who earns $3000 per month.
Not to mention that after 5 years this car would be worth ZERO...
And we can't forget a house... my 4 room HDB is around $450,000, after interest let's just say its $600,000.
So that's going to be 6,000 days for a single person, or 3,000 days each for a couple.
That's not too bad, around 10 years working so that they can stay in a place for 99 years.
Then with a house there's the need to renovate, which would cost around $25,000.
Meaning it's around 250 days for single income or 125 days each per couple.
Which is around 4 months. Considering most people move house around 2-3 times in their lives, they probably would spend 1 year working to pay for all their renovation expenses for their through their whole life.
So let's rearrange all this for an average person.
First 20 years of someone's life, usually not much income. Most people start work around this age.
Then 10 years is spent on paying off a house, and 1 year is spent on paying off all reno expenses for the whole life.
I'd estimate basic necessities to be $1,000 per month, so that's 10 days per month, 120 days per year.
Food $10 x 30 days = $300
Transport $3 x 30 days = $90
Utilities & telco = $100
Insurance = $100
Town council = $100
Clothes & others = $300
So for someone with a life expectancy of 85, we're looking at 65 years where an individual needs to support himself. So that's 120 days x 65 = 7800 days traded for basic necessities for the whole lifetime.
Around 21 years.
If we look at it like this, by around 52 years old, someone would have earned enough to retire.
20 years living off parents,
21 years working to earn a lifetimes' worth of basic necessities,
11 years to pay off the house and reno.
Then let's add in the luxuries... what's life without luxuries right...
So a car is worth 3 years of someone's life.
Holidays are a must... I think a $3k budget for an average individual per year would be fair?
30 days of life exchanged per annual travel budget, 1 month for easy counting.
If someone travels yearly between 20-60, that's 40 yrs of budget, meaning trading away 40 months just to travel. (3 years & 4 months.)
Can't forget getting married and honeymoon and ALL other associated expenses.
Usual expense is maybe around $30,000 per couple? So I'll just take it to be half a year per individual.
There's sure to be unnecessary gifts and presents.
Gifts for others, baby shower, some company event, basically stuff that's not for your own benefit.
I think $1000 per year is a low estimate, but let's just work with that. So that's 10 days.
Between 20-60, that's 400 days. 1 year & 1 month?
On the last count, we were at 52 years old.
I think many people may own a car, get married, go on holidays, and spend on some unnecessary stuff in their lifetime... If we add those... that's 8 years more traded away.
We're at 60 years old and we haven't even talked about miscellaneous luxuries yet.
Like buying something nice for yourself, or going out to eat at nice places.
How about we buy something nice for ourselves every year.
A $2000 item each year between 20-60 yrs old.
20 days traded per year x 40 = 800 days or another 2 years traded away...
And we need to eat something nice on weekends, that's normal.
Additional $200 per person per month x 12 = $2400 per year, or 24 days traded for nice meals.
Over 40 years, that's 960 days, or 3 years with some rounding.
We're now at 65 years old.
We can't forget kids... I don't have kids so it's going to be hard to estimate.
But let's say it's additional $500 per month per kid. (This is probably too low...)
For 1 kid, that's $6000 per year, or 2 months of working traded away.
Since we've sponged off our parents til 20 years old, we'll calculate that the kid will live off the individual til 20... so 20 x 2 months = 40 months. So that's 3 years & 1 month per kid.
Which leaves us at 68 years old, or 71 years old, depending on 1 or 2 kids.
The remaining years, I think work won't be easy cos we're old so... I guess it's time to retire.
68-71 yrs old... pretty much the age most people would retire at anyway...
Anyway, this exercise was just for a bit of fun... There's no accounting for inflation, increment, investments, etc, someone earning $3000 per month is pretty normal.
I think it was quite interesting looking at the years of our lives spent on the various key aspects within our lives. Cos essentially, that's what we're trading. Our time working against the things that we want in our lives.
Of course the numbers will be different depending on how much we earn as well so everyone will have different numbers. But I think it was quite revealing that we spend most of our lives working for our house and basic necessities, then comes the kids and travel and some luxuries.
Everything else... is really just adding additional working years for quite minimal benefit. Like, is it worth trading half a year of your life for a extravagant wedding? Or 3 years for a car which will last only 5 years? Well... everyone makes their own decisions on what's worth it or not...
<<PREVIOUS POST // NEXT POST>>